Carreon v. The Oatmeal: Plaintiff Continues to Dig [Updated]

LTB default 777x437

As Popehat has already covered in detail here (see also Adam Steinbaugh), Charles Carreon has again escalated his frivolous lawsuit against Matthew Inman (creator of The Oatmeal), IndieGoGo, and two charities (the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Foundation).

This time, he filed an application for a temporary restraining order, seeking on an emergency basis to stop the transfer of the money Inman raised to the two charities. There are lots of reasons why this filing is clearly just a BS attempt to hassle the defendants further, but let's go with two for now: (1) sending the money to the charities is exactly what Carreon supposedly wants to happen anyway; and (2) he knew that the money was going to be sent by July 2 at the latest, but he filed for the TRO so late that it would have been almost impossible for the court to consider it by then.

Okay, three: the idea that an impending transfer of money to these charities was an "emergency" that needed to be dealt with immediately is just nonsense. Oh no! Don't let the American Cancer Society and National Wildlife Federation get ahold of that cash! Who knows what they might do with it?!

The defendants' oppositions (which you can find via the links above) are both very well done and completely thrash Carreon's ridiculous arguments. As I also mentioned here, Carreon doesn't have standing to sue just by virtue of the fact that he donated $10 in an effort to create standing. The EFF makes that point on Inman's behalf, and also explains (though it is pretty obvious to everyone but Chucky) that Inman's comments and fundraising campaign are protected by the First Amendment. IndieGoGo also shows that as an online service provider, it is immune under the Communications Decency Act anyway, and convincingly argues that Carreon can't enforce the California charity law that he's pretending to care about. (This is why he sort of tried to join the California Attorney General, or whatever it is he was trying to do.)

Not that it was unclear before, but this is just further evidence that Carreon's real goal is to hassle the defendants. If so, that violates the legal-ethics rules as well as potentially subjecting him to sanctions under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. And after he loses on the TRO (if he doesn't withdraw it first), he's likely to also lose an "anti-SLAPP" motion, which would require him to pay the defendants's fees and costs.

The first rule of being in a hole is to stop digging. One of quite a few rules that Charles Carreon seems to be unfamiliar with.

Update I: Jonathan Lee Riches has now jumped into the fray with a frivolous lawsuit of his own, which, comically, he has filed against Charles Carreon. I am not condoning frivolous lawsuits by anyone, but think it's remarkable that even Jonathan Lee Riches is on the right side of this contest.

Update II: Popehat reports here that Judge Chen of the Northern District of California has asked for proof that the money has in fact been paid over to the charities, which very strongly suggests that the application for TRO will be denied tomorrow on the grounds that it's moot (and possibly for other reasons). No hearing yet. When and if there is one, I will do my best to go watch and then report.